Five NFL players in a contract year who need to step up

Most NFL players reach a point in their career where they’re seeking a long-term contract, but things simply aren’t working out. Sometimes that situation corrects itself, and sometimes it doesn’t.

However, consistent quality play will often pave the way for those players to sign long-term deals — especially during a contract year. As we head into 2021, these five players find themselves in contract years and lacking long-term security. Now they’ll need to step up if they want that big deal.

5. Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots

After the career he had in Carolina, it’s odd to see Cam Newton on a list like this. But there’s no denying that he belongs. It’s clear that Bill Belichick and company are not fully committed to Newton now or long-term, which is why they only gave him a one-year deal this offseason. The team also has Jarrett Stidham, while they re-signed Brian Hoyer in May and selected Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The odds are stacking up against Newton, who was less than spectacular in replacing Tom Brady a season ago. However, New England loaded up considerably this offseason, and there will be no more excuses for the veteran. If he does not perform up to par, he won’t only be replaced, but he may have a difficult time landing a long-term contract ever again.

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